Jacksonville’s Mosquito Control Chief John Shellhorn says he’s surprised the city hasn’t had any Zika virus cases.
“Because of the size of Jacksonville,” he said. “We have an international airport; we have a contingent of military personnel who travel a lot; we have cruise ships."
Still, city officials are preparing in case the virus makes its way up from South America.
The Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee approved $122,000 on Monday to be used for mosquito-control support.
Shellhorn said his team has to assume Zika will show up in Jacksonville, and when it does, he hopes to contain it to travel-related cases.
“When we get contacted through the health department, who have a contact of hospitals and doctors, even if there is a suspect case that has yet to be verified, if they give us that specific area, we go in aggressively and we’re inspecting,” Shellhorn said. “We’re treating and then we’re trapping to try to determine the probability of the vector species in that specific area.”
Jacksonville Mosquito Control has a wish list, including new chemicals and traps totaling about $22,000. Along with several Florida counties, it’s asking the federal government for emergency funding to buy them.
Jacksonville Mosquito Control in partnership with the health department have created a flyer for preventing mosquito-bourne illnesses.